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J.K. Rowling hits back at Putin after he likened Russia to her in rant against cancel culture

By Arnaud Siad, Nathan Hodge and Toyin Owoseje, CNN

J.K. Rowling has hit back at Vladimir Putin after the Russian President compared the West’s treatment of his country to a public backlash faced by the Harry Potter author.

In a message shared on her Twitter account on Friday, the writer said critiques of cancel culture are “not best made” by those “slaughtering civilians.”

Rowling also posted a link to a 2021 BBC News article about jailed anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny and denounced the invasion of Ukraine.

“Critiques of Western cancel culture are possibly not best made by those currently slaughtering civilians for the crime of resistance, or who jail and poison their critics,” she told her 13.9 million followers on Twitter, along with the hashtag #IStandWithUkraine

Putin complained about cancel culture during a televised video conference with cultural figures Friday, saying the West was trying to “cancel” Russia, and compared his country’s treatment to a public backlash Rowling faced in the past for views that were perceived by some as transphobic. Putin, who casts himself as a flag-bearer for conservative cultural values, has railed against trans and gay rights.

“J.K. Rowling has recently been canceled because she… did not please the fans of the so-called gender freedoms,” Putin said, speaking to workers in the arts and literature sector via videolink.

He continued: “Today, they are trying to cancel a whole 1,000-year-old country, our people. I am talking about the increasing discrimination of everything related to Russia, about this trend which is unfolding in a number of Western states.”

Russia has faced strong international condemnation and fresh sanctions following Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine in late February. In his remarks, Putin went on to compare the current situation with Russian culture in the West to censorship in Nazi Germany.

“Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and Rachmaninov are excluded from posters, Russian writers and their books are banned,” Putin said, without presenting any evidence. “The last time such a massive campaign to destroy unfavorable literature was carried out by the Nazis in Germany almost 90 years ago.”

Rowling previously revealed that her children’s charity, Lumos, had been working with the Ukrainian government since 2013, and she launched a fundraising appeal the day after the Russian invasion to help “the thousands of children trapped by the fighting in Ukraine’s orphanages.”

“A reminder: I will personally match all donations to our emergency appeal, up to £1million ($1.3 million). If you’re able to, you can donate here. Again, thank you so very much to all who’ve already donated,” she tweeted Friday.

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